Sydney based tech entrepreneur Amber Blumanis, 23, has been named a Rising Star in the Talent Unleashed awards judged by Sir Richard Branson and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniack.
The Australian awards ceremony was held in Sydney overnight with both Branson and Wozniack beaming in. Among the 600 entrants Australians took out two of the top six spots with
Philip Andrews from digital publishing app Liquid State winning the digital content category.
Blumanis, a surfer chick hailing from Stanmore Park – just south of Sydney, took out the under 25s category for her app, Stopover, which enables travellers to network, whether it be airport dating, business meetings, or just meeting like minded people making a layover a little more interesting.
She came up with the idea while being stuck in an airport with nothing to do and no one to talk to.
“I used to nanny to get some income and I always wanted do my own thing,” she said. “If I didn’t do it someone’s going to do it.”
Developing the app using her own savings, Blumanis said it was a “steep learning curve” to begin with. She taught herself how to design and build an app by reading blogs and articles around the web and outsourced some of the development using Australian-listed site Freelancer.
The app is still in its early days with less than 1000 users and for it to work, as Blumanis hopes it will, she needs more people to embrace the idea that stopovers can be worthwhile.
“I just released it as a free model because there needs to be a lot of people for it to work,” she said, adding “I want to improve Stopover. The app world is really fast paced so if you don’t improve it you’ll get overtaken.”
The six winners will be flown to the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship in Johannesburg, South Africa for a five day crash course on turning simple ideas into thriving businesses.
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